There is a saying that when you don’t expect you won’t get hurt. However, a friend of mine, an unholy human being, couldn’t manage to have no hope, whether the hope for better living, better environment, or better human relationship.
With an expectation that I would be able to help her go through the depression she has been feeling for years, she told me a story, a story shared but never truly told.
A year has passed, the sound of the images I had captured in my mind is still buzzing, like it was just yesterday.
I was having uneasiness every morning at the office (the internet said I was having butterflies in my belly). It happened for a few months before I went to a psychologist, after a few months in a big MNC (Multi National Company), the top of its kind.
First three months in, I was working hard to learn and help handling the job of my colleagues who were on leave. Juggling between projects was a must. Identifying the degree of importance and urgency of each project was a essential. We could never made all party happy, but we could try making less party unhappy, no? Counting it now, I worked for around 330 hours per month for three months (coming at 9am and leaving at 12am), without any request for overtime (If I had known I could ask, I would have done so).
Being a smart-ass, I could keep up at first. But as time went by, the feeling that I have not improved, personally, tired me. Things just weren’t working out for me. I felt exhausted. My department head once asked, “Hey, still enjoying it?” when he passed by. My reply was a smile with a “yes”. I know my eyes were telling different thing, but “hey, isn’t this life? You are new and your heart might have lied to you!”
During this first three months, I had had nightmares, of my stakeholders chasing me for their requests. I was only handling a hundred something requests per week, but why did I not sleep well? (For the record, some of my stakeholders were genuinely caring and handling their duty without a backstabbing move.)
Fourth months onward, I felt worse. I easily got irritated. The feeling you had when someone comment on the way you looked when they were actually no better. Sometimes, I replied in a sarcastic way. Other times, I just went off. I knew they knew, but who cared?
Despite the “not-right” feeling I had about continuing the job, I had not resigned yet. I was then given some projects, big ones. The projects were of sensitive issues, either time or people involved in it. Through those projects, I learnt that I needed to be a bigger person, to take the responsibility no one owns. Only, it was too late.
While I envy my boss’ brilliant way of handling her own work, I was not impressed at all at his way of leading. Or in proper words, I was not accustomed to the way of being shouted and blamed, personally. I understand that he wanted the best for his team (hey, he would also be held accountable if something went wrong, no?), so yeah… maybe I was just thinking of the “idiot”, “stupid” words that flew from his mouth to the open office too much (No, the truth is that I felt hurt! Bad. Those words are even prohibited according to the company code of conduct as it is classified as harassment!).
A few months after, there was an audit on manpower. Having an initial near the alphabet A, I was easily the first suspect! YAY! I was then questioned on why I worked late by my managers and the HR persons, as if they had not known it from the beginning (I am the one unaware that we will be audited for man hour worked).
At that time, I felt that my confidence eroded as fast as the stress I had increased. Yet, I did nothing! I was afraid of doing anything. Moving out? DUH. Speaking to the HR person? DUH. Oh, I did see a psychologist asking her input on how I should deal with my stress (and if I had ADHD). I was advised to write down what I feel, so I could analyse why I felt the way I felt.
I was able to hold on a few more months. However, everything will come to an end. Being unhappy forced us to move on. Pretending as hard as you can, but your emotions does influence your life. You could only hold on for so long before you reach the breakdown point.
I really want to be able to blame others for what I felt in that company, but I can barely do so. It’s me. I didn’t speak up. I let the work determine what I felt. I didn’t look out for myself. I tried to please others, but not me.
Now, I had put this behind me as I told this story. No matter what happens in our life, always remember that everything will surely change, as no one condition is eternal.
And I will stay up through the night
Let’s be clear, won’t close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I’ll walk through fire to save my life
– Elastic Heart, Sia
Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue
– Brave, Sara Barailles
featured picture: by Jaume Escofet https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaumescar/9255650681/